December 12th, 2007

The butchers of Sarajevo

Last year, the Serbian general Stanislav Galic, in charge of the siege of Sarajevo (think artillery and snipers, your probably remember the heart breaking photo of the two lovers gunned down by a sniper), got life imprisonment by the Yugoslavia tribunal in The Hague (my country). Today, his succesor in that nasty siege, Dragomir Milosevic, got 33 years. The Serbian administration was heavily criticized by parting main procecutor Carla Del Ponte for refusing to catch the crooks Mladic and Karadzic.

Sidenote:  Believe it or not, the US government signed the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act (ASPA) introduced by Jesse Helms in 2002 that OK-ed the invasion of my country should an American soldier be held prisoner here for the international court and several countries were arm-pushed into a bilateral non-extradition to the international court.

December 12th, 2007

The chase (case?) for open standards

The administration is actively seeking the use of open document standards in their systems. Earlier they formally embraced PDF, and now ODF is added to that.

In a rather silly, but predictable response, Microsoft critisized this move openly, stating the state “limited itself by adopting a standard that is hardly used” and “rules out suppliers with a certain development or business model”.

Well. First of all, even while they are the biggest player in this market, who is Microsoft to criticize a (for them) foreign government, who has and is spending massive amounts of tax payers money on their software? Secondly, who put in all their power to push a completely unnecessary and next to incomprehensible own “standard” through ISO, instead of writing a decent plug-in to handle ODF, which, for heaven sake, Sun already did? It’s only the most ignorant people who fall for the argument that the format is favoring OpenOffice.org or pushing out Microsoft. MS could write that plug in in a rainy wednesday afternoon. The reason they choose not to is exactly the argument they use against using standard formats: it enables users to switch to a better, or cheaper, or more suiting product. As they arguably already have the best product, there is nothing they should fear. Spin, spin, spin.

Related: The city of Amsterdam has finished a study to see if using open source software would be feasible for their most simple straightforward workstations (about 30%). Think Ubuntu, although they used Suse in their study. Turned out it was, worked nicely and stable, and was cheaper in hardware, licensing and maintenance than closed software. The study will be extended to cover more complex workstations.

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